(Disclaimer: I should be talking about apples, pears, and pumpkins- local things. This is not that post.)
I obsess. Some things burn out, others persist. These things are obsessions because they’re ultimately unobtainable: stars, the moon, sunken pirate ships, dead poets, writers, musicians, achieving STABILITY... A less dramatic and tangible obsession is the seasonality of edibles: ramps, strawberries, peaches, FIGS. Ok, that’s what I was getting at. Figs. Last year I proceeded to tell anybody who would listen how much I loved them and how hard it was to find good ones. I received the gift of figs from friends, customers, family, and strangers in the same small window of time. I couldn’t eat them fast enough, and that’s saying something.
I began to dwell on the mortality of everything on this earth before I got a handle on my hysterics, talked some sense into myself, and stuck them in the freezer. Exhale. Anyway, one cold blustery night, snowed in, craving soooomething, I took the figs out of the freezer and ate them. Then, the next morning I spooned some almond butter with a dusting of cacoa powder and popped another in my mouth. This was incredible. Fig season is more or less over (Sorry for the belated post), but some California varieties are still available in grocery stores. If you can get your hands on some, I suggest you do this. Score the fresh fig down the middle just enough to tuck some almond butter in, close it up, and stick it in the freezer. Frozen fruit stuffed with peanut/almond butter or even chocolate is always a good idea. (Banana slices on a parchment lined cookie tray with a small dollop of peanut butter and sprinkle of cinnamon stuck in the freezer used to be a favorite!)
Obviously sweet things are on my mind. I’m just trying to indulge responsibly here…
Another great “winter fruit” is pomegranates. This month’s Cooks Illustrated gave a great tip how to remove the seeds- No more magenta splattered shirt, shirt, and frustrated outbursts of profanity:
1. Cut off the bump on the blossom end and score the outside of the fruit from pole to pole into six sections. 2. Insert your thumbs into the blossom end and pull the fruit apart in sections. 3. Submerge the sections in a bowl of cold water and then bend the rind backward to release the seeds. Pull out any stragglers and let the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl. 4. Discard the rind and any bits of membrane that float to the surface and drain the seeds in a colander. The seeds can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days.
Add them to a salad with toasted pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, and a creamy balsamic dressing.
Add them to your yogurt or sprinkle on top of your smoothie.
One more thing I'd like to add, is this transplant from my last food blog- Because yesterday I made this chai and this morning it went into my pumpkin smoothie. Also because I miss the place it came from:
Way back in the day, I worked at Garden Street Café (in the Rhinebeck health food store). I loved that job…We’d listen to Scissor Sisters in the morning, wear bandanas, make avocado everything, and feed the juicer kale, beets, ginger, apple, and lemon all day. Faith was a vegan dessert pusher who called everyone “babe”. She was like a human YOGI tea tab, rattling off words of wisdom. Melissa, covered in tattoos, would teach me the art of idyllic hummus and soup-making, telling me stories of her wild chefscapades. If I could sum her up in a word, it’d be “cool”. We would cook up big pots of spicy and sweet chai every day which I would happily drink and always associate with cool women and dancing around a hot kitchen with November wind banging on the windows outside.
There's not really a right or totally wrong way to do this. Adjustments can always be made and heating/ steeping time depends on how strong you like it.
Ingredients (Filled up 1 quart jar exactly)
- 2 star anise
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 short cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean pod (halved and scraped out)
- 6-7 whole white peppercorns
- 2 cardamon pod opened to the seeds
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 quart milk (of your choice)
- 3 black tea bags
- Cheese cloth or a nut milk bag
- In a 2-qt pot, add spices to 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil; remove from heat; let steep for 5-20 minutes, depending on how strong a spice flavor you want.
- Add milk and honey to water and spices. Bring mixture just to a boil again and then let simmer from about 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, add the tea to the mixture and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes to taste.
- Using cheese cloth or nut milk bag, strain into a pot and serve!
CLOTHING THAT STRUCK MY HEART CHORD
John Patrick Organic- I felt very spoiled visiting John Patrick at his home the other day to pick through his beautiful silk slips and cashmere sweaters. "Organic" prioritizes organic materials, fair labor practices, and ecological awareness. Every piece is beautiful and special.
Everlane - This line practices "radical transparency"- Telling you which factories the clothes come from and what the true cost and markup is,
And just because I've declared my birthday week champagne and oyster week:
Purple, dusk, silver, pink cheeks, full moon, cinnamon, burning leaves, candles, twinkly lights, chai, champagne, dark beer, whiskey, early mornings, golden russets, black twigs, bosc pears, blue cheese, hot cider...